Holy Ground

Bible Book: Exodus  20 : 7
Subject: Holiness; Christian Living

It started out as another ordinary day. A man was outside shepherding sheep. They weren't even his own sheep at that; they belonged to his father-in-law Now, I have worked for my father-in-law and I have learned that a good son-in-law treats his father-in-law's business even better than he would treat his own business.

This man was doing the same, watching the sheep carefully so that no harm would come to them. Some may consider the job of a shepherd as a lowly job, but is speaking of his ministry, our Lord compared Himself to a Good Shepherd John10:11 (HCSB), "I am The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."

So this man, out there beside the mountain, alone with the sheep was going about his daily task. Then he notices something; there was a dry bush burning. There was nothing especially u unusual about that because, we are told, that the burning sun often caused these dry bushes to burn. The man turned his attention to other things. But suddenly his eyes were drawn back to that burning bush and this time he DID see something unusual. The bush should have been consumed, but NO, it wasn't consumed and it was STILL burning. The man thought something is going on here-I got to go over and see this amazing thing.


Then something even stranger happens. A voice speaks out of that bush and says Exodus 3:4 (HCSB), "When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, 'Moses, Moses!' 'Here I am,' he answered. 'Take off your sandals Moses, for the place you are standing is HOLY GROUND.'"

Let's stop a minute and look at the word HOLY. We toss that word around a lot, but maybe we don't fully understand what it means. The Holman Bible Dictionary defines the word Holy in this way"It is a characteristic unique to the nature of God" But wait a minute. It goes o n to say that this characteristic is also the GOAL human character. It means to be set apart for God's service Oh no, not just those of us in vocational ministry.

A SAINT had been defined as a holy person set apart for God's service. And my dear people, if you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior that means you. When God calls one to SALVATION, he also calls that person to SERVIICE.


There was something about Moses that God could use. He was a shepherd which suggested he had a heart to shepherd people. The shepherd's job was to feed and water the sheep. He must guide them and seek after them when they wandered away from the fold.

God's call comes to a particular heart. God's call comes to one who is willing to shepherd people. Some feel that shepherding people may be becoming a lost art with many of us as pastors. I have just read Calvin Miller's book, O Shepherd Where Art Thou?" In this book Miller laments the fact that many pastors no longer feel that it is their responsibility to shepherd their sheep.

But what about the layperson who experiences God's call to move out of his comfort zone and give of himself to hurting people? Is that person ready to; listen to the voice of God and obey that voice.

God uses people whose heart is tender and tough, hard and compassionate, disciplined and soft.


Philip Ryken pointed out that most likely Moses knew something about holiness. His father-in-law was a priest who was set apart for service. So when God told Moses he was standing on Holy Ground, he probably understood something of what God was saying.

Biblical commentators are quick to point out the ground was not holy on its own. It was holy because that was where GOD was and where God revealed himself.

The place where we gather to worship is Holy Ground. It has been set apart for God. This is why I, as your pastor, am very careful as to what takes place in this room. We meet God in a very unique way when we come together in this place. Here God reveals himself to us through prayer, singing, preaching giving and worshiping Him together.

God is Holy and his desire is for us to be Holy and we dare not forget that goal. I feel that Ryken is correct when he says that we minimize God's Holiness. We lower his standards. But God cannot be any less Holy than he is or he would not be God.

It was A.W. Tozer who was quoted as saying," I tell you this: I want God to be what God is: the impeccable, Holy, unapproachable thing. The All Holy One. I want Him to be and remain Holy. I want His Heaven to be Holy and His throne to be Holy. I don't want HIM to change or modify His requirements. Listen to him now:" Even if it shuts me out, I want something Holy left in the universe."


When we sing the Hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy" do we really mean the words we are singing? Do we recognize the holiness of God and do we realize that God wants US to be Holy? The Bible tells us that the only way for us to come into the presence of God is to become Holy ourselves. Hebrews 12:14 (HCSB) Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness-without it no one will see the Lord.

How can we achieve this goal? That is why God sent His Son to be our Savior and Lord. We could never keep God's Law, but Jesus kept it for us in perfect Holiness. Through Christ, God sees us as Holy. Listen to the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:21-22 (HCSB), "And you were once alienated and hostile in mind because of your evil actions. But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him."

The Grace that God has shown through the cross enables us to approach the Holy One, not hiding our face in fear, but by faith, trusting in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

I love it and yet tremble when I read the words of Hebrews 4:16 (HCSB), "Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time."